The following is my Major Paper on the issue of Female Genital Mutilation: An issue that effects 140 million women around the world and 8000 new cases every day. The paper is written as part of my studies in the subject on Poverty and Development at Fuller Theological Seminary. This paper is fairly explicit and comes with an MA rating.
Title of the Paper: Cutting the Rose
I regret to inform you that I have often defined poverty in terms of deficit. Lack to use another word. Lack of food, lack of clothing, lack of adequate housing. But this definition, lacks. It lacks a broader holistic understanding of actually what constitutes poverty. Professor John Friedmann defined poverty as ”a state of disempowerment”(Myers 2011:120). Jayakumar Christian defined poverty as “the interaction of a complex framework of disempowering systems” (Myers 2011:123). Robert Chambers said that the “household is poor in terms of assets and is physically weak, isolated, vulnerable and powerless”(Myers 2011:115). This paper addresses what I believe is the personification of absolute poverty: -absolute powerlessness: – that is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). I cannot think of any more graphic representation of disempowerment than a naked four year girl being held down by strangers, sometimes men, screaming desperately for her mother, with her legs being held open and a non medically qualified woman using anything including a razor blade, shard of broken glass or sharp stone, (Dorkenoo: 1994:108) to cut her clitoris and labia off, and then sow her vagina opening closed using thorns as medical staples (Mandara 2004:2), for no medical, sexual or child bearing benefit but purely in the name of tradition, social convention or religion. That is poverty. The thesis of this paper is that Female Genital Mutilation is one of the manifestations of poverty if viewed through the lens of Chambers, Friedmann and Christian and that solutions can be found within these frameworks. Predominately the paper will focus on FGM in Egypt and this focus was chosen firstly, so the role of Islam in FGM can be examined and secondly because Egypt influences the Islamic world and changes in Egypt can have broader ramifications across the Middle East and down through the African continent. FGM in general was chosen as the subject for this paper as I very much agree with Pope Leo’s Rerum novarum (1891) where he asserted the church’s responsibility to speak out on social issues (Myers, Week 2 Lectures).
Section 1: Female Genital Mutilation – Defined, Extent and Motivations
Around the world, 130 million women have been subjected to genital mutilation and this number increases at a rate of 8,000 pre-pubescent girls every single day (Finke 2006:1). Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Female Circumcision or Female Cutting is “called khafd (reduction) in classic Arabic and is more popularly known as Tahara (purification)” (Assaad 1980:3). There are four levels:
Clitoridectomy: partial or total removal of the clitoris, and in very rare cases, only the prepuce (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris).
Excision: partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (the labia are “the lips” that surround the vagina). This is most common type in Egypt (Kouba and Muasher 1985:97).
Infibulation: narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the inner, or outer labia, with or without removal of the clitoris. The term fibulation is derived from the Latin fibula, which means a clasp or a pin (Kouba and Muasher 1985:97).
The final level of circumcision involves “pricking, piercing or incision of the clitoris and or labia with the addition of scrapping of the vaginal orifice or cutting of the vagina with the introduction of corrosive substances into the vagina with the aim of tightening or narrowing the vagina” (Mandara 2004:2).
According to the Wallace Global Fund website, FGM is practiced in at least 26 of 43 African countries: the prevalence varies from 98% in Somalia to 5% in Zaire. A review of country specific Demographics and Health Surveys, shows FGM prevalence rates of 97% in Egypt, 94.5% in Eritrea, 93.7% in Mali, 89.2% in Sudan and 43.4% in Central African Republic. The following distribution map for FGM is from the website titled Hands Off: Stop Female Genital Mutilation
The motivations behind FGM vary, but no one would argue that they are not deeply ingrained in Egyptian Society with an estimated 95% of the female population circumcised, including 81% of Coptic Christians and 95.6% of Muslims (Yount 2002:345). The motive can be divided up into five categories and each is applicable in varying degrees to FGM in Egypt:-
“Essential for curbing of a woman’s sexual passions” (Giladi 1997:257), thereby “ensuring her moral purity and virginity until marriage” (El Dawla 1999:129).
The mythological belief that every person is endowed with a masculine and feminine souls and that these souls reveal themselves through the procreative organs, so as a young boy becomes a man, he must shed the female part of his anatomy (the foreskin), and young girls must shed the male parts of their anatomy, the clitoris and the outer lips of the vagina. “So only thus when a girl is circumcised can she become a woman” (Giladi 1997:258).
Belief in the myth that if a baby’s head touches the clitoris during childbirth it will die. There is one people group in Africa that also believe the clitoris will kill a man if it comes in contact with a man’s penis during intercourse. (Kouba et al 1985:103)
According to the Wikipedia website on FGM, one of the motivations is identification with the cultural traditions as a rite of passage of girls into womanhood and for the maintenance of social cohesion. For example: In medieval Muslim societies, “the son of the uncircumcised woman” was sometimes used as a form of humiliation (Giladi 1997:263). Another insult was to say to an uncircumcised woman ”You are like a man” (Assaad 1980:5).
There is a belief that circumcision is essential to stop the clitoris growing until it is the size of a male organ (El Dawla 1999:129).
There is also a belief that a circumcised woman “has had all her ugly bits taken off and so its a beautifying action: (Giladi 1997:257).
“FGM is an Islamic practise mentioned in the tradition of the Prophet and sanctioned by Imams and Jurists, in spite of their differences on whether it is a duty or a sunna (tradition)”(Assaad 1980:5). FGM is seen within Islam as a means of protecting female modesty and chastity, which are highly valued in Islam and are clearly prescribed in the Qu’ran (Assaad 1980: P5). Although the Qu’ran, which I will discuss later, does not prescribe FGM.
The origins of FGM are hard to trace. Its origins are neither well researched nor well understood. “It traditionally is thought to have originated as an African puberty rite that came to Egypt through diffusion. There are a few scattered references to the practice in Pharonic Egypt indicating that FGM was practiced in ancient Egypt”(Assaad 1980:4). Indeed circumcised females have been discovered among the mummies of this era (Kouba et al 1985: 95). FGM did not originate in the Islamic tradition, contrary to popular belief and both Muslims and Christians have circumcised their daughters since early times (Assaad 1980:4). It is believed that FGM predates both Islam and Christianity.
Section 2: How FGM fits into the definition of Poverty based on the framework of Transformational Development
Viewing FGM through the lens of Transformational Development theory broadens our understanding of the systemic nature and strength of this cultural practice and at the same time can bring a holistic framework through which solutions for the eradication of this practice become evident. At its heart, Transformational Development is about seeking a better human future” (Myers 2011:55). Mary Anderson and Peter Woodrow said that Development is a process by which vulnerabilities are reduced and capabilities are increased (Myers, Week 6 lectures). It is the seeking of change in the whole human life, materially, socially, psychologically and spiritually. Professor Myers defined Transformational Development as “A process through which children, families and communities move toward fullness of life with dignity, justice, peace and hope as the bible describes the Kingdom of God” (Myers, Week 6 lectures). I labour the point to ensure that breadth of Transformational Development is understood and that it clearly covers the issue of FGM.
Before I continue on and introduce Jayakumar Christian’s framework of Transformational Development, I will pause for a reflective moment. Throughout the subject of Poverty and Development, the god complexes of the non-poor West toward the poor have been a continual thematic of the subject. Western Colonialism is an apt example. Under the Modernization theory of development the assumption was held that the Western way was the best way and that ultimately the West would erode traditional culture, which was seen as a good thing (Myers, Week 4 lectures). The question that needs to be settled is: – By being anti female circumcision, is my neo-liberal capitalistic worldview overlaid with a Judeo-Christian ethic, manifesting as a god complex toward the poor who see every value in circumcising their women? The same question posed from a different perspective is: Am I listening to the narrative of the people involved or am I imposing my story over theirs? This is difficult to resolve the tension here, because clearly the social convention around FGM is so ingrained that it perpetuates without holistic thought and so the narrative of the mothers who present their daughters for cutting is damagingly disempowered. At the same time, there is widespread agreement on the irreparable damage FGM does to a woman. The Royal College of Obstetricians has called the practice “barbaric, futile and illogical” (Newsweek, 1982:55). Maybe in the case of FGM, the god complex of the Western mindset is actually justified. On the flipside: Is it ever justified? I leave this tension unresolved.
Christian sees the poor household “embedded in a complex framework of interacting systems: – Cultural, Social, Spiritual, Personal and Biophysical” (Myers 2011:123). FGM is deeply embedded in Egyptian culture through the interplay of Christian’s identified systems.
Starting with Personal: Christian observes that poverty “brings a tragic marring of the identity of the poor” (Myers 2011:127). I cannot think of anything more marring to a woman’s identity, then having the centre of her femininity hacked to pieces in order to curb her apparent uncontrollable lust for men. Nahid Toubia, President of RAINBO, (Research, Action and Information Network for the Bodily Integrity of Women) quoted on the Wikipedia website for FMG said “pain and trauma are central to defining appropriate female disposition and concepts of morally appropriate fertility and that any change to the state of her mutilation can affect a woman’s sense of identity and security”. This is so far below the identity that a woman actually has where she is created in the image of God and given the most beautiful gift of procreation, where her womb is literally a connection point between earth and the creative powers of heaven. It is the “poverty of being” Professor Myers quotes of Augustine Musople (Myers 2011:127). In Egypt, women strongly defend the right to circumcision and will take part in performing it on others “because the issue goes beyond genital mutilation and has to do with women’s perception of their role in the world” (Finke 2006:14). An Egyptian Coptic woman called Camilia recounts the story of her fear filled evening the night before her circumcision at age 8: ”My mother kept reassuring me by telling me once you have the operation, you will grow taller and prettier and your complexion will be fair and clear. They deceived us with such remarks. I particularly resented this deception”(Assaad 1980:11).
Further to the Personal side of marred identity: the physical side effects of FGM can lead to irritability, anxiety, depression, reduced feelings of femininity and alterations of personality (Kouba et al 1985:102). Immediate physical effects are shock from loss of blood and severe pain. Commonly, local sepsis and ulceration can occur with other initial complications including haemorrhaging, septicaemia and or tetanus infections severe enough to cause death (Kouba et al 1985:101). Other longer-term effects are infections caused by retention of urine, disturbances of menstruation, formations of blood clots, edema, cysts and keloids (Kouba et al 1985:101). These all relate to the marring of the identity of the female in question.
Source: Desert Flower Foundation
The second of Christian’s disempowering systems is Cultural – the inadequacy of their worldview. Christian says that the poor or disempowered are often the victims of a “web of lies” (Myers 2011:128). Certainly the lies around FGM are perpetrated almost from birth: – by mothers and grandmothers; by the very culture itself and by those in authority; and are so effectively communicated and reinforced that the victims of the lies become the carriers and then ultimately the perpetrators of the lies to the next generation: so marring the world view of the disempowered that they see no other way. Part of culture that reinforces FGM is the social ostracisation that happens if a woman is not circumcised.
FGM is also an expression of patriarchal control as women usually have little economic independence and few property rights or opportunities for education: and therefore economically need to submit to FGM as a social convention that then allows them to marry and take their place in a society that rejects an “uncut” woman. (Finke 2006:14).
Social Systems – god complexes from the non-poor form the next part of the disempowering systems that entrap the poor. FGM is “internationally considered a serious violation of human rights and physical integrity” (Finke 2006:14). After the International Conference on Population Development and Control (ICPD), which took place in Cairo in 1994, the International community threatened to cut off Aid to Egypt (due to FGM), causing fundamentalists to allege that the West threatened Egyptian culture, which effectively drove the practice of FGM further underground. (El Dawla 1999:134). This was the West coming in with their god complexes and trying to throw their weight around: A completely wrong strategy as far as FGM eradication goes.
The penultimate disempowering system in Christian’s model is that of Spiritual /Religious systems. There is an Abrahamic myth that after having donated Hagar to her husband, Sarah became jealous and swore to cut off her rival’s limb. As the myth goes, to stop Sarah hacking off Hagar’s nose and to appease her wrath, Abraham pierced her ears and circumcised her. Often in Egypt, a girl’s ears are pierced at the same time as she is circumcised (Giladi 1997:265). It should be remember that Abraham and Hagar are seen as the Patriarch and Matriarch of Islam.
Finally is the Biophysical sphere – the weakness of the mind and body of the poor. In FGM’s case, the practice is perpetuated on the naive children held physically down by adults. These five systems of disempowerment all work together in a complex interplay that traps millions of women in the poverty of FGM.
John Friedmann like Christian focuses on the powerlessness of the poor and defines poverty “as a lack of access to social power” (Myers 2011:118). He see households embedded in four overlapping domains of social practice: – state, political community, civil society, and corporate. (Myers 2011:118). This is articulately illustrated in an article titled Razor’s Edge- The controversy of Female Genital Mutilation (When Culture harms the girls): “In communities practising FGM there is literally no place for a woman who has not undergone the procedure. Such societies have sanctions, which are brought to bear on the woman and her family, ensuring that the woman’s relatives enforce compliance. Other circumcised girls will no longer associate with her. She is called derogatory names, and is often denied the status and access to positions and roles that ‘adult’ women in that community can occupy. Ultimately, an uncircumcised woman is considered to be a child.” To put this in Friedmann’s terminology, uncircumcised women have very little access to social space.
Politically, FGM is a hot topic. When a film showing a girl being circumcised, surfaced during the ICPD conference in Cairo, the Egyptian government released a statement saying the practice of FGM “was a rare practice in Egypt and was in the process of fading out” (El Dawla 1999:131). There were other statements made, but they were all to appease the International Community and the statements never made it into mainstream Egyptian Media (El Dawla 1999:131). This is an example of Friedmann’s political domain manifesting as a lack of access to social power with the government of Egypt denying the practice of FGM and suffocating any moves to bring the issue into the public domain.
Robert Chambers defined poverty as Clusters of Disadvantage – an interactive system of 5 areas that combine to make up the Poverty Trap: Material Poverty, Physical Weakness, Isolation, Vulnerably, Powerlessness (Myers 2011:115). The issue here for FGM is Isolation which reinforces the vulnerability and the powerlessness of young girls. I will discuss in the next section the positive results toward reducing FGM through dissemination of information about female circumcision. There is a role here to be played by Informational Technology. As more and more Egyptians come online, their access to information about FGM and its negative consequences grows and this potentially can significantly reduce three of Chambers Clusters of Disadvantages in relation to FGM. Anyone who watches the news has seen the power of Social Media to bring about revolutionary change in the Egyptian politically arena: may Social Media bring a revolution of thought to the women of Egypt.
No examination of FGM would be complete without looking at the role of Principalities and Powers in the perpetuating this crime against womanhood. Jayakumar Christian says, “the ultimate cause of poverty is the devil” (Christian 1999:149). Where did the idea of sexual intercourse come from? Dr Alan Myer, Pastor/Counsellor from Australia answers the question by saying that the sexual union between a loving husband and wife, where they become one flesh (Genesis 2:24), one spirit (1 Corinthians 6:16) and emotionally connected, is the closest example on earth of the intimate relationship that exists within the trinity. Dr Myers believes that the devil seeks to corrupt the sexual union in as many ways as he can to corrupt one of the greatest gifts God has given to men and women, and to corrupt, cheapen and weaken the reflection of the intimacy in relationship of the trinity into the world. It is no wonder then that the devil has caused millions and millions of women over thousands of years to have their sexual organs hacked at with shards of glass (among other things), all in the name of mythological beliefs, false religion and patriarchal control and domination, robbing these women of the full experience of their femininity and sexual expression.
Section 3: Solutions to FGM
If we believe the evidence of the ancient Egyptian mummies, women for over 4000 years have been circumcised, which means this practice is so ingrained in culture that it will not be changed quickly. This is an important factor to remember. However the practice needs to stop and women empowered to be the people God created them to be, enjoying the full expression of their sexuality without the patriarchal control that they have been subjected to for 4 millennia.
Firstly I will examine what attempts have been made to date in Egypt and which have had little or no effect. In 1959 the then Minister for Health signed a resolution that recommended as an alternative to full circumcision, partial clitoridectomy and also banned dayas (traditional midwives) from performing any circumcision. In 1982, the Director of The Mother and Child Health Division of the Ministry of Health in Egypt concluded that regardless of these restrictions, “almost all girls continue to be operated on” (Kouba et al 1985:105). Attempts have been made to increase awareness of the dangers of the practice of FGM through radio broadcasts, but such is the stigma attached to speaking of such things in an Islamic country that there was significant pushback and the program was abandoned (Kouba et al 1985:105). In March of 1980 an interagency consultation sponsored by WHO and UNICEF was “held in Egypt to explore areas of collaboration and to elaborate future cooperation in joint activities to combat the practice of female circumcision. However to date there is little evidence that any of the countries in attendance at the Khartoum Conference have followed up on the recommendations or have implemented any programs toward eradicating the practice” (Kouba et al 1985:106). National Governments, Egypt’s included, have been reluctant to come out strongly against a practice that most of the population see as an integral part of their culture. Leaders often give lip service to the eradication of FGM but that’s as far as it goes. If any laws are passed it often drives the practice, already shrouded in secrecy, further underground. This has certainly been Egypt’s experience (El Dawla 1999:134). As I read article after article on FGM and its eradication, there was certainly a sense in many African nations that there are just bigger issues that need to be dealt with.
So what can be done to reduce and ultimately eliminate FGM? In all the major Development Theories looked at, they have highlighted the household as the economic and social unit of importance in contrast to western temptation to think only in terms of the individual (Myers 2011:110). The idea of the household as the central social unit also resonates with the biblical narrative (Myers 2011:111). Solutions to FGM must be outworked through the household. Development Theories also talk about how we must ask the poor for what solutions they want: What happens though when you ask people what they want and they are so ingrained in a destructive practice that they can’t see any other way? So education at a grass roots level must be a key part of the strategy. The challenge here, is that one of Egypt’s renowned Gynaecologists made a statement to the press in 1999, that “speaking publicly about circumcision was a violation of the moral codes of society” (El Dawla 1999:132). So top down mass education would be a waste of time. It must be through family planning centres, influential women in rural villages, the medical profession and if at all possible, through religious organisations: which would particularly target the men in the household. One study suggested that with education “special attention be devoted to the operators who have vested interests in the practice and occupy influential positions within their communities”(Kouba et al 1985:108). An example of where this is working is in Senegal in a Village Empowerment Program sponsored by the Government and operated by NGO’s. There are four major areas that are addressed: Human Rights, Problem Solving, Basic Hygiene and Women’s Health. “The use of innovative pedagogical techniques inspired by African traditions and local knowledge has contributed to making the sessions relevant, lively, and participatory” (Nafissatou and Askew 2009:308). The results of this program were that over a 5 year period FGM was reduced by between 44% and 49% amongst not only the women who attended but across the entire village where the program was run. These results were consistent in all 20 villages where the initial program was implemented. (Nafissatou and Askew 2009:314). In an article titled Female Circumcision in Egypt: Social Implications, Current Research and Prospects for Change, an observation was made that taking social and economic change out of the equation, many uneducated women, given information, “will question the validity of female circumcision” (Assaad 1980: 9). This questioning and the educated woman’s rejection of the FGM are based on emerging values such as “respect for modern concepts of health and an enhanced definition of women’s identity and roles. Moreover, in most cases, the memory of the operation is sufficiently traumatic so that mere questioning by a trusted service provider or a friend would have a relatively positive response” (Assaad 1980: 9). In Egypt the two primary reasons for FGM are preservation of premarital chastity and safeguarding feminine characteristics. “Since both are refutable on scientific grounds, sharing scientific knowledge with the perpetrators of the practice may be all that is needed” (Assaad 1980: 9). If they could be convinced that pre marriage chastity is a moral issue not a physical one and that uncircumcised girls can be just as moral as circumcised ones, then that would go a long way toward changing the deeply ingrained practice. “The traditionalists must also be convinced that an unexcised clitoris does not develop masculine characteristics and thus jeopardize a girl’s chances for marriage” (Assaad 1980: 9).
Education of females has obviously has some success in the FGM area. However, if sustainable Transformational Development is really going to take place, the men of the households and their role in perpetuating the practice needs to be addressed. FGM is a manifestation of patriarchal control over women and without that source of control changing, FMG is destined to continue for another 4 millennia. It would seem that the efforts to eradicate FGM to date have not involved the men of the households. In fact it’s near impossible to find any article or information on how FGM is being address in Egypt or indeed in any country around the world, in the male arena. The focus seems to be centred around the female only and I believe this is a great weakness in the push to eradicate FGM. To assume that female circumcision is about females, simply because it is their genitals, the mothers take their daughters to be cut and the dayas is a woman, is to grossly misread the culture in which FGM takes place. Eradication of FGM will involve moving some very significant mountains in the male arena. I would suggest there are three areas that will need to be dealt with: –
The first area is the sexual appetite of the men in countries where FGM is practiced. If a male grows up thinking a circumcised female is normal and desirable and that an uncircumcised female is “slutty”, “dirty” or somehow ”masculine” then to change that framework is a massive undertaking. Add to the equation, living in a country/culture that is sexually repressive where things of a sexual nature cannot be discussed only adds to the challenge.
The second area is the issue of what religion teaches. Holistic Transformational Development involves looking at the spiritual dimension of poverty. According to the Website Islamic Law on Female Circumcision: the Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law ‘Umdat al-Salik’ by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (note not the Qur’an) says “Circumcision is obligatory (for every male and female) by cutting off the piece of skin on the glands of the penis of the male, but circumcision of the female is by cutting out the clitoris”. Islamic teachings are based on the Qur’an and on tradition: so this traditional “ruling” carries much weight amongst Muslims. I am at a loss to suggest how this would be dealt with effectively outside of a sweeping of Christianity across Muslim countries. I write this paper from a Christian perspective and I believe that a person’s true identity will only be found through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Transformational Development must have a redemptive edge. The tension for me here is that Christians themselves have been involved in FGM in multiple countries, most notably in Nigeria (Mandara 2003:2). Unlike Islamic tradition, there is nothing in the bible or Christian tradition that would substantiate the mutilation of the woman’s genitals. Rather, the bible encourages the full expression of a woman’s sexuality within the confines of marriage.
The third area that education would need to address with men is the framework through which they view their women. FGM is a human rights violation and the men of Egypt are complicit in this abuse of their young daughters. According to the website for the US Department of Health and Human Services, WHO views the practice of FGM as an act of violence against a young girl, which causes serious lifelong problems. The World Health Organisation website says that FGM reflects deep rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. The article goes on to say that the practice violates a person’s “rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and the right to life (when the procedure results in death)”. Jayakumar Christian, in God of the Empty handed says “that powerlessness is relational and that the poor experience powerlessness within the context of relationships” (Christian 1999:119). Egyptian women experience powerlessness within the context of the relationship they have with Egyptian men. Imagine for a moment that Egyptian men decided that any perceived benefit of having their wives and daughter’s genitals sexually mutilated, culturally, religiously or sexually, was outweighed by the trauma and medical complication that is associated with the practice. In the space of one generation FGM could become history in Egypt. Is that possible? What if we had an Arab Spring around FGM and the rights of women?
This paper set out to show that Female Genital Mutilation is one of the manifestations of poverty if viewed through the lens of Chambers, Friedmann and Christian. Indeed this paper has articulately proved that Female Genital Mutilation is the epitome of poverty:- Powerlessness manufactured by the Christian’s interplay of a complex set of disempowering systems that perpetuate a most heinous manifestation of patriarchal control. Ultimately this form of poverty marrs the identity of the women involved, leading to short and long term emotional, psychological and physical complications. At its heart, holistic “Transformational Development is about seeking a better human future” (Myers 2011:55). A better future for the 140 million scarred and marred women sadly is not possible, save for the healing power of Christ to bring forth their true identity. But a better future is possible for the very young ladies of Egypt and the African and Middle Eastern world. That better future is wrapped up in transforming the household in which these girls live. Education of the mothers, the influential women of rural villages and the dayas has been shown to be the key effective tool. Changing the worldview of the fathers, the cultural enforcers, and the political systems that enshrine the practice of FGM is proving to be the greatest challenge. But this is a battle worth fighting.
You may also want to read some of my other major papers
Author Unknown. Article on Female Genital Mutilation. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_genital_mutilation> Last viewed on the 2nd September 2013
Author Unknown Fact Sheet on Female Genital Mutilation. World Health Organisation Website <http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/ Last viewed on the 27th August 2013
Author Unknown. Female Genital Cutting Fact Sheet. US Department of Health and Human Services Office on Woman’s Health. <http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/female-genital-cutting.cfm> Last viewed on the 27th August 2013
Author Unknown. Hands Off! Stop Female Genital Mutilation.<http://nowscape.com/islam/FGM-Africa1.htm> Last viewed 25th August 2013
Author Unknown. Razor’s Edge – The Controversy of Female Genital Mutilation (When Culture Harms the Girls). Humanitarian News and Analysis Website. <http://www.irinnews.org/in-depth/62462/15/razor-s-edge-the-controversy-of-female-genital-mutilation> Last viewed 25th August 2013
Author Unknown. Islamic Law on Female Circumcision. <http://answering-islam.org/Sharia/fem_circumcision.html> Last viewed on the 1st September 2013.
Author Unknown. EU States Do Little To Prevent Female Genital Mutilation. Infidel Bloggers Alliance. <http://ibloga.blogspot.com.au/> Last viewed 2nd September 2013
Author Unknown. Sign the Petition. Desert Flower Foundation <http://www.desertflowerfoundation.org/en/sign-the-petition-%E2%80%9Cstop-female-genital-mutilation-in-the-uk%E2%80%9D/> Last viewed 2nd September 2013
Assaad, Marie. “Female Circumcision in Egypt: Social Implications, Current Research and Prospects for Change”. Studies in Family Planning. Vol 11 No. 1 (Jan 1980) pp3-1
Christian, Jayakumar. 1999. God of the Empty Handed: Poverty, Power and the Kingdom of God. Monrovia:MARC
Diop, Nafissatou. Askew, Ian. “The Effectiveness of a Community-Based Education Program on Abandoning Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in Senegal.” Studies in Female Planning. Vol 40. No 4. (Dec. 2009). Pp 307-318
Dorenoo, Efua. 1994. Cutting the Rose: Female Genital Mutilation: The Practice and its Prevention. London:Minority Rights Publication.
El Dawla, Aida Seif, “The Political and Legal Struggle over Female Genital Mutilation in Egypt: Five Years Since the ICPD.” Reproductive Health Matters Vol 7. No. 13 (May 1999) pp128-139
Finke, Emanuela. “Genital Mutilation as an Expression of Power Structures: Ending FGM through Education. Empowerment of Women and Removal of Taboos.” African Journal of Reproductive Health. Vol 10. No 2. (Aug 2006). Pp 13-17
Giladi, Avner. “Normative Islam versus local Tradition: Some Observations on Female Circumcision with Special Reference to Egypt.” Arabica (April 1997) pp254-267
Kouba, Leonard J. Muasher, Judith. “Female Circumcision in Africa: An Overview.” African Studies Vol 28, No. 1 (March 1985), pp 95-110
Mandara, M.U. “Female Genital Mutilation in Nigeria”. International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics 84 (2004) pp291-298
Myers, Bryant. 2011. Walking with the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development. NY: Orbis
Myers, Bryant. 2013. Fuller Theological Seminary MD 525 Weekly Lectures
Reymond, Laura. Mohamud, Asha. and Ali, Nancy. Female Genital Mutilation – The Facts. Wallace Global Fund. http://www.path.org/files/FGM-The-Facts.htm> Last views 24th August 2013
Yount, Kathryn M. “Like Mother Like Daughter? Female Cutting in Minia, Egypt.” Journal of Health and Social Behaviour (September 2002) Vol 43. No. 3 pp 336-358